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Vistors Guide

mandala.gifMany visitors who have never been to a Buddhist monastery are unfamiliar with Buddhist practices and are not certain what is expected of them during their visit.  What follows can be considered a brief guide, one that will hopefully help visitors to understand many of the practices they may encounter during their visit.

Our motive
Our purpose is not to convert individuals to Buddhism.  The intention in offering the teachings is to assist others in attaining happiness and peace.

Dress Code
There is no dress code required to attend teachings, but please wear articles of clothing that are comfortable but respectful.

Atmosphere
Our members are both friendly and supportive to visitors.  Please feel free to approach anyone if you have questions.  Especially during the break, feel free to engage in conversations with other members of the community while you enjoy your cookies and cup of tea.


Dharma Etiquette

Here are some things to do when receiving teachings from a Lama (Teacher) in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. 

Before entering
Leave all shoes in the area near the door or outside the shrine or teaching area; do not enter the shrine or teaching area with shoes on.

Teacher’s entrance
Stand and bow slightly when the Lama enters the room.  Remain standing while he or she prostrates to the Buddhas and personal teachers (visualized on the throne) and takes his or her seat.

Prostration
After the lama is seated, practicing Buddhists will perform three formal prostrations as a sign of respect to the lama and teachings.  Others may join in or stand quietly.  For those wishing to participate, the form is: With palms together touch crown of head, forehead, throat, and heart; kneel on hands and knees, touching forehead to ground very briefly and rising quickly.  Perform the entire act three times.  At the conclusion, once more touch hands to the crown, forehead, throat, and heart, pausing briefly at the end for contemplation; then take your seat.

Opening prayers and chants
The purpose of these practices is to make a transition from one’s ordinary activities and to engender in ourselves good motivation to receive the teachings.  Prayers will be recited from the books and sheets available throughout the room.  Please share these if there are not enough copies.  Students and visitors may join aloud or contemplate silently.

Dedication
The teaching ends with prayers that dedicate, to the benefit of others, any merits and insights one may have gained during the teachings.  Again, one may join in or contemplate silently.